I found myself standing by a road in a miniscule community in northern Wisconsin. I was taking a few pictures of a just demolished tavern when a vehicle pulled up next to me. The driver looked at me as if I were doing something peculiar, which I suppose I was.
He was my age and had a grizzled beard similar to mine so I just decided to go with the flow.
"Shame they wrecked the old place."
He allowed as how that was true and said: "My mom told me they were knocking down my dad's old office", adding perhaps needlessly "He was an alcoholic."
We are losing a lot of taverns in Wisconsin. It is part of a larger trend here and elsewhere. Local pubs in England are fading fast too.
It is due to a combination of things, some good, some bad. People live in spread out suburban areas now, and society does not tolerate drunk driving. People drink at home with alcohol they can purchase cheaply at Big Box stores. We are collectively less social, turning inward to television, video games and the internet.
I have passed more than a few pleasant evenings in taverns, and I sorrow for their slow, sad march to extinction. Here are a few pictures of one on the day of its destruction.
I think it is interesting that somebody removed the generic part of the sign, it probably advertised Budweiser or some such, and left the personal part.
They must have tried to be some kind of sports bar at one point. A place where folks might go to watch the Packers game. So many televisions...
Parts of this place were fairly old. There was a stone foundation under one section. Note also this pile of marked bricks circa 1910.
A good tavern is much more than a building. It is also the people who pass through its doors. Who brought this teddy bear in?
You have to squint to make it out but at some point the words "Brad is fat, ha, ha, ha." were painted on this surface.
Farewell, Drew's Tavern. You have been standing padlocked for as long as I have been driving down this road. No doubt there were good times had by Brad and the other patrons back in the day.